At Sprout, we try to provide everything a family needs for a new baby in the healthiest and most natural way possible. We offer a gift registry so people can let their friends know what to buy them, an app to register on your iPhone, and a registry checklist so that parents can make sure they have not forgotten anything they might need. We even provide Healthy Baby Guides on our website that help parents to learn everything they should be looking out for in every category. However, I sometimes forget how overwhelming this can be to parents who are learning about all of it at once for the first time. A friend with a very intense career, whose wife also has a very intense career, recently asked me to just break down for him the basics of what he needed in order to bring his baby home, and what he should be looking for in each of those categories to know that the products he buys are safe and healthy. I put together the below list for him and then decided that I should share it with all of you.
Here are the main things I would look for:
Crib and Dresser / Changing Table: Try to find solid wood with low VOC paint. Most cheap cribs are made with particle board that is stuck together with glue that emits formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.
Crib Mattress: The most important thing to buy organic. Traditional mattresses are made of foam that release particulars into the air (VOCs) that are not good for baby's lungs. They are also sprayed with flame retardant chemicals, horrible for a baby to breath and known to cause lots of different health issues. Putting an organic mattress pad cover on a regular mattress does NOT solve the problem. But you should also have an organic mattress pad cover.
Crib Bedding: I prefer everything to be organic cotton, but there are limited options when it comes to organic bedding. Since your baby will spend so much time lying on these sheets, I do think it is important. Consider trying a solid white sheet with a patterned crib skirt to add some decoration to the crib if you do not fall in love with any of the organic patterned sheets that you find.
Clothing: You are going to get tons of clothing as gifts, and from everywhere, but you should definitely register for things you like. I really do think that at the very newborn stage, it's nice to have organic cotton touching your baby's skin since it has been shown that pesticides can rub off of a finished garment. (Cotton is the most heavily pesticided crop in the country.) I would suggest registering for some kimono tops (so they don't have to be pulled over the head) and pants in organic cotton and let people buy you all the other cute fun outfits for the older sizes. The first few weeks the baby will basically be in a shirt or onesie and a swaddle all the time anyway.
Baby Carrier: Whether you buy a Beco or a Solly wrap, it’s shocking how much the babies suck on the straps, so I think an organic version is best.
Baby Bath: Make absolutely sure that it is BPA-, PVC-, AND Phthalate-free. These are 3 terrible chemicals in plastics that will leach into warm water.
Car Seat: Many car seats are sprayed with toxic flame retardant chemicals. Find one that is GREENGUARD or OEKO-TEX® certified, or that promises it does not use any of the worst flame retardants, like tris.
Toys: I would always opt for wood or organic cotton over plastic. Phthalates in plastics were outlawed in toys for kids under 3 in 2009, yet nobody really knows this (so don't take hand-me-downs) and from what I have heard, it is not really enforced, especially for products made overseas.
Glider / Rocker: A glider or rocker isn't an absolute must-have, but many find it extremely helpful in those early days of nursing your baby in the middle of the night. Many must be custom ordered and can take several weeks to receive, so you should consider buying one ahead of time. Make sure to look for one that does not have foam sprayed with flame retardant chemicals. Our exclusive gliders do not have flame retardants or polyurethane foam.
I think this is a good place to start and not get overwhelmed. Of course you can always call or come into one of our stores to ask as many questions you like of our knowledgeable sales team.